While there are many similarities in General Contracting and Construction Management, there are some key differences that may make one a better option than the other for you.
When we are over the construction management of a project, we act as estimators and project managers before, during, and after the project.
GCs(General Contractors) and CMs(Construction Managers) often have a different relationship with owners. GCs most likely get new projects through competitive bidding and are third parties in a construction process that also includes the owner and the design/engineering teams. The GC provides a set price and builds all aspects of the project that are covered with-in the contract.
If the GC manages to spend less than what was bid, then it makes an unexpected profit. When unforeseen issues come up, as they usually do, and those aren't already included in the contract, then the owner must pay additional to cover those costs, change the specifications, or reduce the project's scope.
CMs, on the other hand, perform their functions at the direction of the owner and for a set percentage of the total project cost. The CM assists during pre-construction and then oversees the construction, usually by hiring subcontractors, or on large projects one or more GCs. CMs tend to work exclusively for owners with whom they've developed a mutually-beneficial relationship.
Often, a GC will act as a CM for certain owners. In some cases a GC might have completed projects for a particular owner and developed a strong relationship with that owner. Down the road, that owner may request the GC to operate on a new project as a CM. The motivation for doing so is less about money and more about trust, and a preference for the quality and execution of how the individual builds. Many times too there is no doubt a personal relationship that has developed, and the owner appreciates being familiar with the work of the CM thereby make less "surprises" to complete projects together.
Here are a few advantages that can be found in hiring us as your Construction Manager instead of as your General Contractor:
- As your construction manager, we will work for a predetermined fee so there aren't change order fees, etc.
- As your construction manager, we will come on the project very early in its development and because we will be with you in the pre-construction process our input as to the realities of costs, features, specifications and materials helps to arrive at more accurate estimates.
- Being involved early in the project will allow us to recommend adjustments to processes and materials to achieve higher value in the end result.
- There is more flexibility for changes and defining the project scope when we are acting as your construction manager.